Kitsap Transit has taken a big step forward in plans to redevelop the bus transit center in West Bremerton by authorizing the $2.5 million purchase of the former Bremerton Lanes bowling alley and casino.
The building sits adjacent to the bus transit center on Bruenn Avenue and has been considered as a possible expansion site over the past two years since executive director John Clauson began the conversation. After work with the Federal Transit Administration and property owners, Clauson said the agency is ready to close on the property.
Bremerton Mayor Greg Wheeler said the acquisition accomplishes two main goals of the agency by further establishing KT as a form of transportation to be used by the public and providing a location to further the path to clean energy. He said it’s “all very important as our county grows, the city of Bremerton grows and our grid essentially stays the same.”
Particularly, the new location is said to further the agency’s mission to transition its fleet away from gas-powered vehicles. This mainly includes the growing electric bus fleet, but Clauson also said the feasibility of introducing hydrogen fuel cell-powered buses is being explored.
Clauson said the changes benefit the agency, the county and its residents. “Next to Highway 3 like that, it would be conveniently located for the county as individuals start purchasing fuel cell cars. They will have a source for hydrogen at that location.”
While the exploration of alternate fuel possibilities continues, the location provides an immediate benefit to the agency as the parking lots to the north and west of the building could be utilized as park & rides while the transit center is upgraded.
A question concerning any environmental testing done on the old building was deferred to service and capital development director Steffani Lillie, who said that no extensive testing had yet taken place but should be expected. “The building will be slated for demolition relatively quickly after we purchase just for safety’s sake and to make sure that we’ve got a good location for our park and ride while we’re working on the rest of development,” she said. “Those tests will occur prior to demolition and before we have staff go into the facility.”